JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Virginia Tech had a much better experience in the River City this time around.
Marcus Vick threw two touchdown passes, and the 12th-ranked Hokies rallied to beat No. 15 Louisville, 35-24 in the Gator Bowl on Monday.
Virginia Tech overcame numerous penalties, the absence of a key offensive lineman and the ejection of a defensive leader to rebound from a surprising loss to Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game a month ago in the same stadium.
The Hokies' defense made big plays down the stretch after senior cornerback Jimmy Williams was ejected for bumping an official in the first quarter.
The Hokies (11-2) scored on three consecutive possessions in the second half, turning a 17-10 deficit into a 28-24 lead. James Anderson sealed the victory when he intercepted Hunter Cantwell's pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown with 5:04 to play.
Vick was solid in the comeback, which snapped a five-game win streak for Louisville (9-3).
He completed a 54-yard pass to David Clowney, and Cedric Humes scored on the next play from 24 yards. The Hokies made the 2-point conversion when Vick scrambled right and laced a pass to Josh Morgan, cutting the lead to 24-21.
Chris Ellis sacked Cantwell on the ensuing drive and knocked the ball loose. Anderson recovered near midfield, and Vick did the rest.
Cantwell, a freshman walk-on making his second start in place of Brian Brohm, played well early but was overwhelmed late. He finished with four turnovers - three interceptions and a fumble.